This is definitely my favorite time of year: football, cooler weather, and the return of all things apples and pumpkin! Not only are they chock-full of healthy goodness, but they are also delicious!
Health Benefits of Apples
The old quote “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” could not be more correct. Apples are loaded with fiber (a typical tennis-ball-sized piece has 4 filling grams of fiber), which helps to keep you satisfied. Apples are also high in immune-boosting Vitamin C.
One recent study found that eating apples was linked to a lower incidence of death from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Another surprising benefit of apples is that they may boost your endurance during a workout. The antioxidant quercetin makes oxygen more available in the lungs, and one study showed individuals who had this antioxidant prior to a workout were able to cycle longer.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Pumpkins have just as much to brag about as apples. Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, which is essential for boosting your immune system, vision health, and bone health. You also get a significant amount of potassium from pumpkin. This helps keep your fluid and mineral balance regulated, which helps with heart function. That bright orange color from pumpkin means it is high in the antioxidant beta carotene. This means it is heart protective and can help lower your risk for heart disease. Finally, just like apples, pumpkin is loaded with fiber. Each 1 cup of pureed pumpkin has 7 grams—1/3 of your daily needs!
I like to use pureed, canned pumpkin as a fat replacer in cake mixes, brownies, and muffin mixes. Just substitute the same amount of pumpkin for the amount of oil called for in recipes and enjoy a lower-fat and nutritious treat!
Recipes for Employee Health
Try these delicious recipes for making the most of fall apples and pumpkin.
Baked Cinnamon Apples
4 large baking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash apples. Remove cores to 1/2 inch from the bottom of the apples. Make the holes about 3/4 to 1 inch wide.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and pecans.
- Place apples in an 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking dish. Stuff each apple with this mixture. Top each with a dot of butter (1/4 Tbsp).
- Add boiling water to the baking pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until tender but not mushy. Remove from the oven and enjoy! Serves 4.
Calories: 230; Fat: 8 grams; Fiber: 6 grams
Recipe adapted from http://www.simplyrecipes.com
3 cups cold, fat-free milk
2 pkg. (1.5 oz.) vanilla flavor fat-free, sugar-free instant pudding
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup thawed fat-free whipped topping
Beat milk and pudding mix in medium bowl and whisk for 2 min.
Blend in pumpkin and spice.
Stir in whipped topping.
Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Makes 12, 1/2-cup servings.
Calories: 60; Total Protein: 3 grams; Total Fat: 1 gram
Recipe adapted from http://www.kraftfoods.com.
Enjoy these fabulous fall super foods while they are plentiful! For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.